UK oil and gas industry workforce numbers have stabilised as confidence gradually returns to the basin, according to a new report.
The total number of jobs supported by the industry fell by 5% to 259,900 in 2018, an improvement on the 14% decline between 2016 and 2017, Oil and Gas UK (OGUK) said yesterday.
In its latest workforce report, OGUK predicted the figure would rise by about 10,000 to 269,000 this year.
A rise in drilling activity prompted an 18% increase in drilling crew offshore last year.
The central North Sea remains the area of greatest activity, with 49% of total offshore employment.
Around 7% of those travelling offshore came from the EU.
Women represented just over 3% of the offshore workforce in 2018.
The offshore sector is likely to witness a more modest rise in the number of people it employs directly in 2019, by just 200 to 30,600.
Direct employment numbers dropped to 31,400 in 2017 from 41,300 in 2014.
OGUK’s Alix Thom said the current levels were more in keeping with long-term trends.
Dr Thom added: “These employment figures indicate a welcome stabilisation of workforce numbers and is positive news for an industry which has a relentless focus on improving the sustainability and safety of the basin.
“While parts of the supply chain continue to be under real pressure with tight margins, overall our report findings indicate that the health of our industry continues to improve.
“Attracting and retaining a diverse workforce will be critical to ensuring we are fit to meet the challenges of the future and to realise the opportunities that will come with new technology and innovation.”